From his ranch in Montana, the irrepressible actor talks new projects 'The Protege,' 'Worth' and 'Dopesick,' and the brazen choices that have propelled his marathon career: "I’d blow my brains out if I had to play the same thing all the time."
The Flash, directed by Andy Muschietti (It), will feature Ezra Miller’s lightning-fast protagonist breaking the rules of physics to crash into various parallel universes, where he’ll encounter different versions of DC heroes, including Keaton’s Batman, as well as Ben Affleck’s.
Keaton was impressed by the script by Birds of Prey writer Christina Hodson, and by Muschietti’s vision, and he was intrigued by the possibility of returning to the character he had helped shape in the public imagination. “Frankly, in the back of my head, I always thought, ‘I bet I could go back and nail that motherfucker,’ ” Keaton says of Batman, a role he walked away from when he didn’t like the script for the 1995 Joel Schumacher movie Batman Forever, which ultimately starred Val Kilmer.
“And so I thought, ‘Well, now that they’re asking me, let me see if I can pull that off.’ ” It took him some time to wrap his head around the parallel-universe concept, however. “I had to read it more than three times to go, ‘Wait, how does this work?’ ” Keaton says. “They had to explain that to me several times. By the way, I’m not being arrogant, I hope, about this. I don’t say it like, ‘I’m too groovy.’ I’m stupid. There’s a lot of things I don’t know about. And so, I don’t know, I just kind of figured it out, but this was different. What’s really interesting is how much more I got [Batman] when I went back and did him. I get this on a whole other level now. I totally respect it. I respect what people are trying to make. I never looked at it like, ‘Oh, this is just a silly thing.’ It was not a silly thing when I did Batman. But it has become a giant thing, culturally. It’s iconic. So I have even more respect for it because what do I know? This is a big deal in the world to people. You’ve got to honor that and be respectful of that. Even I go, ‘Jesus, this is huge.’ “
There will be THREE Batmen in theaters next year.
The Batman with Battison in March and then The Flash, with Batfleck in the beginning and Keaton through most of it in November.